TDoRe third workshop - Business Models - May 2017
The third T-DoRe workshop was hosted by Tecnalia, in Bilbao, Spain. It took place in May during two days, and it has been the last presential group activity in the learning itinerary, although there will be other online communications and follow-up between coaches and participants before the end of the project.
In order to continue the follow-up in their projects there were an individual interview and a previous online group session with project facilitators to talk about their progress with their lean canvas, customer visits, and problems or questions might have arisen. These sessions helped the participants to arrive well prepared for the workshop, receiving feedback and advice from facilitators.
The workshop started with a brief reconnecting session with some words from each participant regarding their progress in the project, difficulties faced, challenges, and so on. Afterwards the workshop started with a new ingredient: the Circular Business Model. Javier Ruiz, from Tecnalia, presented the concept of Circular Economy, the Circular Business Models Innovation, the tool Circular Business Model Canvas and examples of improving Business Models through Circular Economy patterns.
Participants worked in teams to improve the business model of their projects based on circular approaches using the RESOLVE framework developed by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Circular Business Model Canvas. Finally in a plenary session, they shared the main findings and difficulties to increase circularity.
In the second part of day 1, they continued working in their projects using the value proposition and the business model. Jaione, from Mondragon University, introduced the tool Validation board. They had time for individual work and later on sharing in groups, with the objective of reaching a Business Template final version, and uploading it to the project platform (Mudle).
Day 2 started with a session about Marketing & Branding. Javier Mendibil, from Tecnalia, introduced the concept of Brand as element to differentiate from others, and participants practiced with the Brand Envelope tool developed by Thomas Gad (source: 4-D Branding book). We also talked about customers, the ways to identify them, the channels to reach them and so on. There was an interesting dialogue about it, for example the differences of branding and marketing in business to business and in business to customers.
After the Brand session participants prepared a project pitch and the materials to show their project in an Open Session planned after the pitching session. This time the pitches were in front of external experts and stakeholders of the sector coming from technology units of Tecnalia, from University and from companies. So this time it was a real validation activity, and we noticed that participants were more excited!
The participants, as in the previous workshop, had some indications to do the pitch answering to: "What is the need/problem you address, the solution, competitive advantages, the target market (how big) and your offer (what you give and what you seek". The result of the pitches was very good in general, and we could really notice the improvements in these new pitches compared with the pitches done the last time.
After the pitches there was what we have called an Open Session where PhD candidates had the opportunity to present more details of their projects in private or in group open discussions with experts. This part took around one hour, and it was very useful for the participants, as they could also collect real feedback.
So, the preparation of a new pitch and the Open Session allowed the participants:
- To reflect and think about their project from other perspectives (including marketing and branding).
- To refine the pitch and improve it with the Brand Code elements
- To test the idea/solution with experts and stakeholder in the sector from outside the project, and
- To collect feedback from the experts: what they like, things to be improved, questions, new ideas…
By that moment participants were very tired after the two days' work, but there still was another important point, which was to receive feedback from the facilitators on their progress in the Business Models. There was a general feedback, not particular for each of them, but it was agreed to send the particular feedback in case it is required by participants.
After the feedback, it was the moment to write the Personal Action Plan for the following weeks. The facilitators committed to answer any request of help by the participants from now till the end of the project, and also said that there will be another online group meeting after summer holidays, in order to continue the follow-up, and to check the progress of every project.